Cutting holes in interior fiberglass

10 posts / 0 new
Last post
Going Light
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 05/30/2016 - 20:11
Cutting holes in interior fiberglass

Fellow Scampers,

I'm spending my late fall Scamp-on-jackstands-already time thinking and reading about potential modifications, based on my experience so far. Some possible mods involve (scary) cutting into the existing fiberglass interior walls, such as the closet or galley, etc, and then attaching new fixtures, like lights, outlets, etc. I am reluctant to just starting cutting, without specific knowledge of what's going to WORK. Specifically: what tools are required? How critical is it that all blades be utterly sharp/new? What kind of teeth on the cutting tool - very fine, like something rated for metal, or will something that's rated for "wood" do? How susceptible to shattering is this fiberglass, and what does one do to avoid it? (Having shattered a certain amount of plexi in my time, I know it's an issue with rigid, brittle materials.) I suppose one should wear a mask while cutting, right? 

And then there's the question of What to Do if you make a booboo and drill a hole in the wrong place (or somebody at Scamp did so, and you want to fill it so it doesn't show, and put the preferable hole somewhere else) and you want to fix it: what repair method would you use? Or would you just take it to a fiberglass shop?

In short, consider that you're writing something you're going to give your son or daughter to work from. Said son or daughter is now 10 or 12 years old, and not stupid, but not necessarily experienced with various materials and tools. What would you tell her or him? 

I'm not completely inexperienced with either tools or various materials. I've built closets and stairs, fences, interior walls, and hung doors; I've soldered copper pipes and re-wired a sailboat. I know enough to know the unexpected can happen; that one saw blade, or jigsaw blade, or drill, is NOT like another. I also think that everyone who comments will be helping not just me, but everybody else who's considering modding their Scamp, in any way whatsoever. Pretend I know nothing whatsoever, and thereby help everyone who's envying all your great mods.

So I hope all and sundry will Have at It. GO!

(Thanks!)

Eggman
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 1 month ago
Joined: 07/07/2015 - 11:36
Cutting Holes

The first mod I did to my Scamp was to add a door below the large closet door to better access the space below. I first measured, taped off and cut corner holes

I then used a jig saw with a fine metal blade to cut out the opening.

It is not hard to do and the interior cabinets seem to be strong enough to  take modification. One caveat is that it's mighty dusty when you start cutting into the fiberglass, remove your cushions, tent off the area and wear breathing and eye protection. The results will be worth it.

 

 

 

Art

Adam Michaels

ELongest
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 days ago
Lifetime Member
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 20:13
Multi tool

I have found a multi-tool and a shop vac. hose held next to the cutting blade really keeps down the fiberglass dust, it also does not tear out the gelcoat on the upper cut.. You may also end up using a hole saw quite often. After the pilot hole is drilled put the drill in reverse, you have much better control and it cuts smoother going backwards. When doing a blind cut or drilling a blind hole get some small rare earth magnets (Harbor Freight). I use butyl tape and stick a magnet/s to the inside of the shell where I want the hole. Then  go outside with other magnets and locate where to drill the hole. If you miss drill a small hole or have a small over-cut white marine tex is a pretty good match to the gelcoat. HD also sells a white epoxy that others use but I don't know the name of it.

Eddie  

Greg A
Greg A's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 18 hours ago
SOI-AdministratorLifetime Member
Joined: 11/02/2013 - 20:45
Great Tips

Good information. I've added this one to the Modifications Table of Contents

Only thing I would add is to measure 6 times, cut once!  wink

Our Trailers:
2015 19 Escape

Buying or Selling Molded FG Trailers:

Fiberglass-RV-4Sale

doug57o
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Lifetime Member
Joined: 07/24/2014 - 03:41
Woodworking tools

Woodworking tools work on fiberglass, drills, saws etc. Saw blade teeth should be rather fine and not too course. Dusty and smelly so vacuum cleaner and dust mask is helpful. I'm sure fiberglass will dull the cutting edges more quickly than wood so best to use inexpensive cutting tools.

Doug O

k0wtz
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 08/15/2017 - 08:11
coset door

dang just what i have been looking for.  i am excited and going to do it!!

 

AnthonyRM
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 11/13/2016 - 08:35
Adding closet door

I am also interested in adding a door and more space in the fiberglass cabinet next to the door on our 13' big bed model. The cabinet is not as wide on the big bed model but there is about 24" inches of space from the floor to the first cabinet door and I would like to use that space. I'm surprised Scamp didn't put one in. Does anyone know if there is something behind that lower space that would hinder another door and more storage?

Anthony Memoli

LyleB
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: 07/28/2015 - 07:24
The wheel well is in that

The wheel well is in that space, so any closet space would be very shallow, but could be usable for small items.

AnthonyRM
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 11/13/2016 - 08:35
Wheel well

Thanks Lyle! Glad I asked before I cut into it!

Anthony Memoli

Norlanson
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 10/17/2021 - 15:11
Cut an access port into wasted space under bench?

I'm looking for a space in my 2021 13' Scamp where I can store flat things such as laptops, books, road atlases, etc.  In the compartment under the passenger-side bench, forward of the fresh-water tank and above the carbon monoxide detector, there are a couple of cubic feet of wasted space, so I'm thinking of cutting a horizontal slot above the detector and installing a shelf on the inside of the compartment.  Any guidance on whether I'd regret that, or suggestions for where else I could store my laptops and road atlases?

Update 2022-08-22:
The project succeeded.  I cut the hole using my power hand jigsaw, mounted with a "fine/finish" blade.  The cut was clean and didn't generate much dust.  I left a 2-inch margin to the nearest edges/corners/bends in the compartment, and there is no apparent loss of rigidity in the compartment walls.  Suggestion: Cut slowly, or you'll end up overheating (and ruining) your jigsaw blade.